Dutch football star Clarence Seedorf — who is vocal about combatting racism and hate speech within the football industry, wants players who cover their lips to hide their words on the field sanctioned with yellow cards.
“For me, it should be abandoned to be able to speak like that when you’re playing on the pitch, when you’re approaching an adversary. We’re talking about sport, it has to be transparent. So why would I cover from my mouth if I need to say something to my adversary?
“If I talk with my coach, I talk with my teammate, all fine. But when I approach the referee, when I approach another player, another adversary in any sports, you are not allowed to cover your mouth. If you do that, that has to be a sanction, has to be a yellow card or whatever it is, because we should avoid that kind of behaviour.”
Several cases of racism in European football have surfaced in recent months
Early April saw Valencia’s French defender Mouctar Diakhaby claim racist insults were hurled at him by Juan Cala – who denies the accusations.
Speaking at an online event organised by the Council of Europe between leading figures from the world of sport, anti-racism and anti-discrimination, Clarence Seedorf also called on major sporting bodies such as FIFA and UEFA, to urge fans to send video footage of racist or xenophobic behaviour to relevant authorities.
The former AC Milan and Cameroon manager went on to demand that sports bodies “lead by example” and include black and other under-represented groups access to top jobs within their leadership teams.
“If it wasn’t for the people around George Floyd, today we would not be speaking and we would not have had the movement around all that happened and we would not have that police officer now going to the trial.
“So if we can create from the clubs, from UEFA, from FIFA, for all those sports organisations and governments, incentives for who’s capturing those moments and send it to the proper organisation or institution or law enforcement to take action, (you) need to get something positive out of that, social responsibility and social control.
There are no black coaches. There are no black managers. And when I say black, I mean all those… there’s no equality, there’s no inclusion whatsoever in the main organisation itself. So I think that’s where we need to start as well, to lead by example. And then from there, you have, I think, a much better position also to ask other people to change.”
While Slavia Prague denies any discriminatory language, Kudela’s lawyers await decision details before considering an appeal.
The Czech club’s president for his part says he respects the Union of European Football Association’s decision.